July 13

OMG … i hate “learning styles”…

A friend shared this with me. This is a great video. He sounds like a great teacher and I agree with every single thing he said up until 7:13, when he mentioned learning styles… learner-centeredness – giving learners choices that match their preferences for engaging in a specific learning activity, or for demonstrating their learning is not “learning styles,” and is NOT evidence of the existence of “learning styles” – It is giving learners a choice.

Providing choices does not mean that there is a “theory” of learning styles on which this is based.

Providing learners with choices is an excellent learner-centered pedagogical approach.

Children and people will CHOOSE different ways to consume information and demonstrate learning and understanding depending on lots of things – how old they are, what the thing is that they are learning, etc. When they are 6 they will choose differently than when they are 16. When they learn French they will likely have different preferences than when they learn baseball.

The effectiveness of giving learners choices is not evidence of learning styles. It is a preference expressed at a given time under certain conditions.

“Learning styles” as a “theory” does not hold up. The conventional wisdom of noticing that people have learning preferences is not evidence of “learning styles.”

We all have different ways we “prefer” to consume content, information, and learn things at different times.

Learning styles as an idea chimes well with the individualist value system of our culture and fits its dominant, entity, model of human attributes but there is no credible evidence that it is a valid basis for pedagogical decision-making.


There is no credible research or evidence to support the notion of “learning styles” as an immutable inherent human characteristic regardless of what anyone believes.

Learning styles is not a theory, it is a model and a hypothesis for which there is no evidence.  And while absence of evidence does not prove a thing does not exist, it is currently flawed and inadequate.